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May 24, 2024

Haley Finally Sort of Comes Around

The failed presidential candidate took one last swipe at Donald Trump before saying she’d vote for him over Joe Biden.

Whew!

Ever since Wednesday, March 6, the political world has been on the edge of its seat. That was the day when Nikki Haley decided that a narrow victory in Vermont’s open primary wasn’t going to propel her to the Republican presidential nomination against Donald Trump — not when she got clobbered in each of the other 15 Super Tuesday contests.

At that point, the cause of many sleepless nights and the question on every pundit’s mind became, Will she or won’t she? Indeed, would the queen of the crossover Democrats and the Never-Trumpers now finally do her part, just as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did when he bowed out, to unify the party and endorse Donald Trump?

Sadly, the answer was: No.

“I have no regrets,” Her Magnificence said at the time. “And although I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in.” Haley then challenged her vanquisher, saying that it’s now “his time for choosing,” and adding, “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him.”

Then she went silent for the next 11 weeks, allowing desperate Joe Biden to panhandle for her voters. “Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters,” said Biden in a statement. “I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign.”

Days turned to weeks, and the anticipation became all but unbearable until Wednesday, glorious Wednesday. On that day, the trumpets sounded, and she damned her party’s runaway standard-bearer with faint praise:

As a voter, I put my priorities on a president who’s going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border, no more excuses. A president who would support capitalism and freedom, a president who understands we need less debt not more debt. Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I’ve made that clear, many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump.

And there it was. She said she’d vote for the candidate she’d called “unhinged,” the candidate she’d said was “not qualified” to be president.

To which Donald Trump likely said, “Nikki who?

What prompted Haley to finally speak? Perhaps her struggle for relevance. She hadn’t been heard from since March 6, and earlier this month, Trump made it clear that she wasn’t under consideration as his running mate. So, in response to being scorned, Haley comes out with this smug, narcissistic, back-handed non-endorsement. That’s the best she can do? That’s as magnanimous as she can be? This is how she tries to unify the party?

For comparison, this was Ron DeSantis on the day he dropped out of the race: “It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”

Yesterday, Trump responded to Haley’s unhelpfully lukewarm non-endorsement: “I think she’s going to be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts,” he told News 12 New York. “I appreciated what she said. You know, we had a nasty campaign, it was pretty nasty. But she’s a very capable person, and I’m sure she’s going to be on our team in some form, absolutely.”

That sounds like a smart play from Trump. What could’ve been cause for a lashing out is instead a thoughtful and measured response aimed directly at the suburban women who may ultimately decide the presidency on November 5.

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